March 29, 2013
A Spoonflower Easter Egg Contest SurprisePosted by Cathy Heck
Before the Easter bunny arrives on Sunday, we thought you might like to see one more painted egg, and this one is served to you on fabric. We are delighted that Ellen’s Lithuanian Easter Egg pattern was just voted as one of the top ten winners at Spoonflower! Lithuanian Easter eggs are similar to the Pysanky-style eggs you have seen in our previous posts, but they seem a bit more refined, usually dyed with only one color, while preserving the original white color of the egg. Each one is a delicate gem, and now you can buy yards of them!
Spoonflower is offering fat quarter bundles that include all ten winners or you can also buy it directly from the Cathy Heck Studio Spoonflower page. Why not get an early start for next year’s Easter frocks?! (I just said that so I could use the word ‘frocks’ which is so underused these days!) Happy Easter!
March 19, 2013
QuiltCon Debuts in Austin, Texas USAPosted by Cathy Heck
You might have noticed that our blogging has been a little bit sparce lately. Here are the reasons: (1) Cathy received a sewing machine from Santa and is learning to sew during her blogging hours. More on that later. (2) Ellen’s blogging time has been filled recently with a move to a location around the corner from Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto. Deliciously more on that later. (3) Ellen and Cathy attended QuiltCon in Austin, Texas. More on that right now!
Now, about QuiltCon: oh my goodness and wow! Ellen joined me in Austin for a weekend of quilting awe. This is the first year that the Modern Quilt Guild has introduced this wonderful event, and happily, they chose Austin, Texas for thousands of modern quilters to gather. It included classes, lectures, and a juried quilt show. When I registered in the fall, I didn’t even know how to sew. We were originally planning to attend to see the fun projects that are made with our fabrics, but as a new “official stitcher,” I had a completely different experience. We were able to look at every single little stitch very, very closely. (No kidding, there was but a thimble-length between our noses and each quilt.)
Not only did we enjoy the juried show, but a separate group of quilts by Denyse Schmidt was also on display. “Modern quilting” is a little bit different than the kinds of quilts one imagines when thinking of traditional quilting. Lots of solid color and negative space, wonky shapes, and creative, improvisational designs. To attend a Modern Quilt Guild show feels a little bit like attending a show at the MOMA, only in this case, the artwork is made of fabric and thread.
The show was meticulously coordinated. The modern color palette used for all of the pre-show advertising was replayed throughout the show with signage, literature and even the hand-crafted award ribbons, shown below.
With all the Modern Quilt Guilds (MQG) in town, an extra treat for us was that several members from Ellen’s very own Bay Area MQG came to Austin, and with their friendly personalities combined with adorable Australian accents, they were most certainly the stars of the night when they took a break from quilting to go boot-scootin’ at the Broken Spoke!
The next day, we toured the main lecture hall, where the walls were adorned with quilts created by Modern Quilt Guilds across the country, for the Block Challenge using the QuiltCon color story. The blocks were sent ahead of time, and twenty were chosen to make a quilt that was selected for one lucky winner. The remainder of the blocks were then made into many amazing one-of-a-kind quilts. Following the show, all of the quilts were given to the Austin Children’s Shelter as a way of saying thank you to the city of Austin. I wish I could see a photo of a room in the Children’s Shelter filled with these beautiful modern works of art wrapped around little Austinites.
We attended several lectures, and enjoyed every single one of them. A highlight for us was to see our friend, Laurie Wisbrun, speaking with a panel discussing the business of fabric design from the perspective of designers, as well as manufacturers. The lectures covered a wide range of topics from David Butler’s photography secrets to Anna Maria Horner’s design process to the keynote speech by Denyse Schmidt, sharing her constantly evolving creative journey. But interestingly, although every presentation was different, they all resounded with one similar message: Be True to Yourself. We marched out of QuiltCon rejuvenated and ready to draw, paint, mouse and stitch. And, of course, to be true to ourselves.
And in keeping with the lesson, we decided that to be truly true to ourselves, we needed to top off our last day with a delicious crepe from the very authentic crepe restaurant, Le Cafe Crepe, across the street from the convention center. Quilts topped off with crepes … it just doesn’t get any better than that!
November 3, 2012
…here a quilt, there a quilt, everywhere a quilt quilt…Posted by Ellen Heck
We’re back from Quilt Market in Houston, which was a quiet blast! (Quiet because all the quilts muffle so much sound that we always feel like it’s an oddly peaceful trade show considering how many people are walking around.)
We had two new fabric collections coming out under the CathyLoo brand for David Textiles this season. Here are some fun product shots of “Here-a-Hug, There-a-Hug” which is a bright and playful juvenile collection loosely based on the song, “Old MacDonald had a farm.” We loved the above knapsack made from “Farmyard Friends” in green and “Counting Sheep” in red. And below are two close-ups of the quilt made from all of the fabrics in the collection.
This all-over “Counting Sheep” pattern is so much fun:
And finally, here is the pattern for the whole quilt designed by Heidi Pridemore:
It was a lot of fun to see everyone and get excited about the next season of fabrics coming out of the studio! Now back to the drawing board – with a quick sketch here, and painted flower there, here a toss, there a panel, everywhere some future flannel… (We might have stayed up a bit late last night working on those new designs…)
Have a great weekend!
July 20, 2012
The Butterfly Flutter QuiltPosted by Ellen Heck
Since we received the Shady Grove sample yardage in the nick of time, I was able to squeeze hints of it into this little quilt for a dear friend. While trying to decide what to call it, it was fun to discover that a group of butterflies can be called (according to the net) a lek, swarm, rabble, kaleidoscope, or flutter. Flutter was my favorite, but kaleidoscope was close second.
The leafy background pattern is the handy dandy lime fern leaf from the Emma Collection by Newcastle Fabrics.
May 17, 2012
Little Robot: A Quilt Magazine CelebrityPosted by Cathy Heck
For immediate release: the mild-mannered Little Robot and his loyal pup, Gif, have been featured in … not one, but two well-known quilting magazines. The lovable stars are featured in Better Home & Garden’s Quilts & More Spring 2012 issue on an adorable, yet super-easy quilt made from the Bot Buddies® flannels by Blue Hill Fabrics. The amazing team, Joanie Holton and Melanie Greseth of SewQuiltCraft.com created the quilt and you can even buy the Toy Box Quilt Kit from their site and make one of your own.
Another beautiful quilt designed with the Bot Buddies® cotton appears now in the Simple Sewing & Quilts Spring 2012 issue. Again, Melanie and Joanie (the real stars of this story, but don’t tell Little Robot) designed a playful quilt featuring the TurtleBots and FishBots border panels. Little Robot himself doesn’t actually show up on this quilt, but he is humble and understands that he has to share the limelight with his other bot buddies.) If you would like to be the star of your next baby shower, you can buy the Go Fish Kit from SewQuiltCraft.com, and whip up this great project.
If you are headed to Kansas City for the Spring International Quilt Market, be sure to stop by and see the Bot Buddies® fabrics in person. However, Little Robot will not be signing autographed copies of the quilt magazines until he learns his ABCs.
January 6, 2012
The Bot-Bubbly Sea, A Blogger’s Choice ChallengePosted by Ellen Heck
Little Bluebell, a fellow East Bay Modern Quilter, recently led me to Quokka Quilts’ blogger’s choice challenge – a spin-off of The Fat Quarter Shop’s blogger’s choice bundle series. It’s always so much fun to make one’s own collection out of prints from many different groups, so I thought it was a great idea to open up the opportunity to everybody. The rules: pick 12 prints and 3 solids and put together a collage to post here by January 15th and you’ll be eligible to win your own bundle! I wanted to make one that featured our Micro Fish pattern from Bot Buddies cotton because I just love that print, so I picked the navy colorway and expanded on the navy/blue/teal/green theme from there:
Speaking of Micro Fish, here we are admiring the actual cotton:
The fabrics in this bundle from top left to bottom right are:
13. Kona Cotton Aloe
14. Kona Cotton Blueberry
15. Kona Cotton Honey Dew
December 20, 2011
Just add stripes: quilt #2 for 2011Posted by Ellen Heck
Here is the finally finished ladder quilt that has been 90% complete for the past 8 months – barely squeaking by the finished-in-2011 deadline. This quilt started in the sweltering summer, and I can remember pinning it in shorts with all the windows and doors open to bring in as much breeze as possible. Now we can actually use it!
You might notice that the stripes are not straight. The blocks were originally designed for a quilt that would look more like this, but when it was all spread out on the floor, the colors were not contrasting enough to pull it off – hence the simplified design. Thanks to my East Bay Modern Quilt Guild friends for teaching me how to feature this little selvage swatch detail – it’s my favorite part:
Wishing you all a warm holiday season and lots of finished projects!
November 3, 2011
Miles of Quilts at International Quilt Market: Part 2Posted by Cathy Heck
When the doors opened to the International Quilt Market in Houston, one of the first booths one beheld was that of Newcastle Fabrics. There, our Jumpin’ Monkeys collection was ready to jump onto flannel jammies and blankies and the sweet Emma collection looked as fresh as a pink-and-green bouquet.
On the walls were all the pieces made just days ago by our Austin elves, showing off the DIY possibilities. We were delighted to see our work and our friends at Newcastle. Here we are (photo below) with Dan Weidmuller, chief of everything at Newcastle.
Jumpin’ Monkeys is a new flannel group scheduled to be in the stores in November. Before market, we received a few small pieces of strike-off material to check for color. We decided to try to make a few monkey projects, one of which would be flannel jammies, but we only had enough fabric to make one blue leg and one brown leg, which is the original reason that the pants bottoms (below) became “two-toned.” BUT, after all was said and sewn, we decided these play pants were downright adorable. I guess you could say small strike-offs are the mother of invention!
I also love the matching appliqué monkey that Nancy added to the onesie. This is so easy and packs a great “wow, you did that” factor.
Here is something else that happens when sewing with tiny bits of soft flannel strike-offs: a toddler ragland jacket that is monkey-blue-stripe on the front and monkey-green-stripe on the back. It’s like wearing the whole collection in one tiny jacket!
We can’t leave Jumpin’ Monkeys without showing you the fastest quick quilt you ever did see (made by Deborah Elliott) … all you have to do is follow the outlines of the animals on the panel and it looks like you slaved for weeks piecing and appliquéing this soft quilt. Even the striped border is part of the one yard of fabric that you will buy to make the quilt top! (You may want to add some edging as we did with the palm leaves fabric (see second photo below), but it’s cute even without it. It might depend on what time the baby shower is tomorrow!)
And, if you have questions about anything fun and new at Newcastle, here is the go-to-gal for the answers, Cheryl Jukich. She is new to the Newcastle team and she is just adorable and full of energy … even when we saw her after many hours of trade show standing!
While Jumpin’ Monkeys was hoppin’ off the wall, the Emma collection was displayed nearby and it was shining in its own preppy cute way. Since we already introduced you to lots of Emma in an earlier post, we’ll just share some pictures of her cute self on display at the show. Photo left: Ellen in front of the quilt she made with the Emma strike-offs. (And her very first quilt ever!) Photo right: Cathy and Ellen in front of the sassy Emma dress made by Nancy Keirns. The great thing about Emma is that it can be made into a baby bumper or a tween jumper. It’s for little bitty girls, or their mamas.
While we love to visit with the companies that make our fabric, we double-love to visit with shop owners who sell our fabric! Here we are below with a fellow mother-daughter team, Judy Fenton and Megan Wilson who run Millcreek Sewing & Fabric in Erie, Pennsylvania. While they were gathering samples in balmy Houston, Texas, I believe several inches of snow fell on their shop in Pennsylvania. A nice early reminder of the importance of a warm, snuggly quilt!
Although, we don’t have any weather close to a white winter here in Austin, we definitely caught the quilting bug while we were in Houston. I hope our little adventure in the aisles of Quilt Market have you all quiltified, too. We’ll keep you posted as we learn of the stores that will have Emma and Jumpin’ Monkeys in hand. Enjoy your November, and have fun quilting, whether you are wearing flip-flops or snow boots!
November 2, 2011
Miles of Quilts at International Quilt Market: Part 1Posted by Cathy Heck
We are just back from Quilt Market in Houston … and it was so much fun. There were so many quilts that I bet if you laid them end to end they would stretch across Texas and beyond!
For us, a market is often the culmination of months of collaborative work, and it is satisfying to see it all come together. Lots of faces are beaming … and bleary. Two of our favorite faces to see were those of sister team, Joanie and Melanie of Tailormade By Design. They were responsible for four quilts made with our fabrics, as well as many quilts for several different companies .. all of which need their quilts ready on exactly the same first-day-of-Quilt-Market! And, every year they make that tough deadline and arrive in Houston with big smiles. We are amazed and in awe. Here we are with them at Blue Hill Fabrics.
Our favorite surprise was the Bot Buddies™ quilt … we had not seen the final cottons, and we were delighted with the colors and the delightful quilt pattern that Joanie and Melanie had designed with them. We created the cottons to be easy for nursery decor, and indeed the super sisters created a quilt to set the theme for a bright and cheery nursery or toddler room. They even created these sweet fat-quarter charm packs (below left) to get a new mama started. Photo below right is a close-up of the darling Bot Buddies quilt, ready for snuggling.
I believe these cottons have just arrived at the warehouse, so as soon as they are in the stores, we will add some links to the blog so you can go bot-shopping. There is a softer than soft flannel group, too. Be sure to send us your Bot Buddies™ projects so we can share them in our up-coming Flickr groups.
Another of our baby collections was also starring at Blue Hill. Zoophabet® is all about personalizing with an alphabet of cute critters. And it comes in both cotton and soft flannel. The group was displayed with lots of one-of-a-kind DIY ideas: personalized pillows, quilts, bags and blocks. The photo below is Cathy visiting with Elaine Sexton, of QUILT Magazine about all the DIY possibilities with alphabets and bots.
Below are more photos from our busy visit in the Blue Hill booth: From upper left clockwise:
1. Zoophabet® display including personalized blocks, bag and pillows made by Deborah Elliott and soft flannel jammies made by Nancy Keirns 2. Ellen and Cathy with Roger Roby of Blue Hill Fabrics 3. Close-up of the quick quilt made by the Tailormade sisters created with the Zoophabet® Pink Panel. This quilt panel is so easy that a mom can make the quilt top during a naptime (unless your baby naps like my middle gal did … which was not at all … maybe a morning while babies are attending Mother’s Day Out is a better quilt-making venue.) 4. Cathy with quilt designer, Robin Jackson, brainstorming about some creative projects she can make with the Zoophabet® collection.
Well, all this talk of fabric and sewing and quilts is making my fingers itch … I‘m off to make some quilt blocks. Of course, first, I will have to learn how … which is next on my empty-nestin’ list of things to do!
October 29, 2011
Emma: Excited About Her Trip to HoustonPosted by Cathy Heck
Emma is feeling trip proud about her journey to Houston for the International Quilt Market. The Emma collection will be blooming in preppy pinks and greens perfect for DIY projects for girls of all ages. We hope you will visit her at the Newcastle Fabrics booth. Here is our market-bound gal modeling her new Emma dress and ruffled pants, accessorized with her Emma coin clutch … just in case she needs to buy some tasty TexMex.
The minute we received our production yardage, we asked our studio elves to whip up some Emma fun. See more Emma eye candy below.
Here’s an Emma patch quilt hanging in the rose garden. The dot patterns created for this collection make great frames for the appliqué animals toss patterns.
And here’s a favorite around our house o’ girls: A twirly skirt! If you are a girl, I bet you are remembering your own twirly skirt right this minute. So off we go to Houston … twirling all the way. Hope to see you there!’